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McConnell said a vote for Kavanaugh showed that the Senate was "a chamber in which the politics of intimidation and personal destruction do not win the day".

Before the vote, leaders of the chamber traded sharply divergent characterisations of whether Kavanaugh belongs on the court. This is ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee Dianne Feinstein.

Collins announced her decision in a lengthy speech on the Senate floor Friday afternoon, much of which was spent refuting Democratic criticism that Kavanaugh would overturn the Affordable Care Act or Roe v. Wade.

"I have reservations about this vote given the serious accusations against Judge Kavanaugh and the temperament he displayed in the hearing", Manchin said in a statement. Exactly one month from elections in which House and Senate control are in play, Democrats tried making sure that female voters were paying attention.

Hundreds of protesters against Judge Kavanaugh were arrested in Washington DC, on Thursday, including comedian Amy Schumer. Protesters have roamed Capitol Hill corridors and grounds daily, raising anxieties and underscoring the passions the nomination fight has aroused.

The short tweet - which came less than an hour after Collins, a Maine Republican, announced she would vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court - caught national and state Democrats by surprise. And it was fought against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement and Trump's unyielding support of his nominee and occasional mocking of Kavanaugh's accusers.

The brutal hearing sparked a supplemental Federal Bureau of Investigation dive into Kavanaugh's background and a week-long delay of the Senate vote.

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who has repeatedly battled with Trump and will retire in January, wavered but also backed Kavanaugh.

Kavanaugh sworn into Supreme Court after divisive fight
Media captionTrump: "The main base of the Democrats have shifted so far left we'll end up being Venezuela". In her speech announcing support for the Supreme Court confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh , Maine Sen.

"I don't think she has any regrets".

Despite deciding against the nominee on Friday, she told reporters afterwards she has still not made up her mind on the confirmation vote, according to Reuters news agency. "We must always remember that it is when passions are most inflamed that fairness is most in jeopardy". "Collins today" after her speech on the Senate floor affirming support for Kavanaugh. That is a state that President Donald Trump won by a very large margin - by more than 40 percentage point, in fact. "This is why women don't report sexual assaults", he said.

But he said he believes Kavanaugh will "determine cases based on the legal findings before him". The Senate was flooded by protesters in the days leading up to the vote, with activists hounding Republicans and urging them to vote against Kavanaugh's confirmation, citing decades-old sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh. "He's not the right man for the court at this time", she said. "Collins is apparently willing to ignore the overwhelming majority of Mainers who have urged her to oppose this nomination in order to avoid the ire of Republican Party bosses and the White House".

Complicating matters, the office of Republican Steve Daines said he was planning to attend his daughter's wedding in Montana on Saturday.

A final confirmation vote is expected Saturday.

With the confirmed support of him and Collins, the likely final Senate vote is 51-49.

They said he also seemed ready to rule for Mr Trump if federal authorities probing his 2016 campaign's alleged connections to Russian Federation try to pursue him in court.

The last of the undecided votes began falling into place after the senators reviewed a highly anticipated report from the FBI investigating allegations of decades-old sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh. Susan Collins, who sits next to Murkowski, leaned over and put her hand on the arm of Murkowski's chair.


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